Mayor pens letter seeking to keep pot shops away
Any plans to bring marijuana shops to Peabody could soon be going up in smoke. On Wednesday, February 1, Mayor Ted Bettencourt addressed a letter to his colleagues asking for their support in banning marijuana shops from entering the city.
The move comes nearly three months after the state voted overwhelmingly to legalize the recreational use and sale of the substance. Since then, numerous communities around the Commonwealth have grappled with how best to address the new law, of which many details are left notably absent. The law leaves out key regulatory features and the issue of operating under the influence. Some communities, including Peabody, feel that the lack of detail in the law is a sticking point for their decision to keep marijuana sales outside their borders.
“There are a great many unanswered questions regarding implementation of the new law and its effect on public safety. As city leaders, we must confront this issue in a manner which respects the apprehensions of so many of our fellow citizens,” Bettencourt said in his letter.
Peabody voters said no to legalization, 54-46%.
On Thursday, February 16, the Legal Affairs Subcommittee will meet at City Hall to discuss the issue further. According to City Council President Joel Saslaw, the issue is likely to go to a referendum at the next election this coming November. That is, if it is passed by the City Council.
In a conversation, Saslaw said that he supports the mayor’s decision: “I agree with the mayor. I think it’s a proper request and it makes sense.”
By Melanie Higgins
Relay for Life event kicks-off in Peabody
The race is on. Last Tuesday night the American Cancer Society kicked off Peabody’s annual Relay for Life event at Peabody High School. More than a dozen supporters of the cause gathered at the school to express their support and to listen to a survivor, Rosie Flynn, testify about her battle and victory over the disease.
Flynn, who was diagnosed with Stage III breast cancer in 2011 and has more than five years as a survivor, said she wouldn’t be here without the support of her family. In response to her diagnosis, her husband and daughters responded by creating a since wildly successful annual dance show, called “Move for the Movement,” aimed at raising funds for the American Cancer Society and Relay for Life. Since the show’s inception, it has raised $65,000 in five years.
“I didn’t think I was a hard fighter,” Rosie said, “but I am here nine surgeries later and I’m a better person. I wasn’t going to give up.”
Flynn received the majority of her treatment at Dana-Farber Cancer Center in Boston, where she endured 30 rounds of radiation. She said that the Relay for Life has been a source of strength and inspiration for her while she dealt with her disease, and that it has created a “whole new family” for her.
“Cancer can hurt you, but it can’t eat you alive,” Flynn said. “If you know anyone who is struggling, give them a hug and tell them that people care.”
As part of the ceremony, Flynn’s daughter Jessica got up and performed a dance routine to an instrumental version of British band Coldplay’s song “Fix You.”
Relay for Life is the largest volunteer cancer event in the world. Started in 1985, it takes place in more than 5,200 communities in 20 countries around the world. The relay, which takes place overnight, symbolizes the reality that “cancer never sleeps.” Participants, many camping in tents overnight, walk in teams that “relay” each other around a track nonstop until the event is over, raising funds according to how many miles they log. This year will be the 23rd year Peabody has hosted the event.
Less than two months into 2017, the Peabody/Danvers chapter of the Relay has raised almost $9,000, has 45 participants registered, and 14 survivors attending. Overall it hopes to raise more than $100,000 and get over 500 people registered.
This year’s event will take place Saturday, June 3 to Sunday, June 4 from 4 p.m. to 6 a.m. at Peabody High School Upper Fields. There are two ways to register. Either go to www.RelayForLife.org/PeabodyMA and click “Join this Relay”, or call 877-957-7848. To find out more about Flynn’s “Move for the Movement” project, visit www.move4tm.org.
By Melanie Higgins